Lee Kiefer’s pursuit of an Olympic medal ended in brief and stunning fashion Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Kiefer, a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, was defeated in the round of 16 during fencing’s individual foil competition in Brazil.
Kiefer entered the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro as the world’s third-ranked foil fencer.
Kiefer, competing for the United States, defeated Mona Shaito of Lebanon 15-3 in her opening match Wednesday morning.
An hour later, Kiefer took on 26-year-old Yongshi Liu of China, the world’s 30th-ranked player. Kiefer fell behind 12-7 and was unable to recover, as Liu pulled a 15-9 upset and moved on to the quarterfinals.
The entire individual foil event plays out in one day, with medals to be decided Wednesday night.
Kiefer was not the only medal contender knocked out early. Gold medal favorite Arianna Errigo, the world’s top-ranked player, was knocked off 15-11 by No. 24 Eleanor Harvey of Canada in the round of 16.
Kiefer, a three-time NCAA champion for the University of Notre Dame, was competing in the Olympics for the second time. As an 18-year-old in 2012, she placed fifth in London.
Click here to view a video and bios for all the known athletes and coaches with Kentucky ties competing in the Olympics.
Click here to read a feature on Kiefer written by the Herald-Leader’s Jared Peck last winter.